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Metrolink’s New Chorlton Line Opens

The official release and then Adele Ralls Glynn assesses its performance

Written by . Published on July 7th 2011.

Metrolink’s New Chorlton Line Opens

Passengers are now able to travel on Metrolink’s new Chorlton line, Transport for Greater Manchester has announced.

The journey was fast taking fifteen minutes to St. Peter's Square compared to the forty minutes the same journey takes on the bus.

Services on the South Manchester line run:

• Every 12 minutes between: 6am and 11.45pm (Mon-Thurs); 6am and 00.45am (Fri & Sat); 9am and 5.30pm on Sundays.

• Every 15 minutes between 7am to 9am and 5.30pm to 10.45pm on Sundays.

The journey time from St Werburgh’s Road to St Peter’s Square is approximately 15 minutes.

Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be able to announce the start of services on the Chorlton line. It is both an historic occasion and a sign of the exciting future in store for the network, as we continue our £1.4 billion expansion – the single biggest investment in public transport outside of London.”

The new line forms part of a £1.4 billion investment in Metrolink, which will provide new lines and new trams for a network that will be three times the size it is now. Further lines are being delivered through Oldham and on to Rochdale, to Ashton-under-Lyne via Droylsden, from the Chorlton line to East Didsbury, and to Manchester Airport via Wythenshawe. A second line across the city centre is also being developed.

The new lines will be controlled by a new tram management system. The benefit to passengers will be more consistent departures and arrivals, particularly at busy times. When the system is rolled out across the network it also means that passengers will ultimately be able to receive real-time information about their tram and when it is expected to arrive.

Facts and Figures

Typical fares for between St Werburgh’s Road and Victoria: 

• Adult Single: £2.50 • Adult Off-Peak return: £2.80 • Adult Peak return: £3.50 • Adult Weekly ticket: £14 • Adult Four-Weekly: £53 • Adult Quarterly: £160 • Adult Annual: £560 (just over £1.50 for a return journey every day of the year) • Child Single: £1.30 • Child Off-Peak Return: £1.40 • Child Peak Return: £1.80 • Child Weekly: £7 • Child Four-weekly: £27 • Family Off-Peak Return: £4.80 (this provides travel for up to two adults and three children).

Typical journey times and costs of a car: Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton, to Market Street, Manchester. Approximately, five miles.  Average petrol cost, £2.10. Average parking cost, £5. Journey cost c£7.10. Return Metrolink ticket from Chorlton to Market Street = £3.50 off peak, £4.50 peak. Cost savings: £2.60/£3.60 per journey.


Adele Ralls Glynn from Chorlton High School tests out the new line

The long anticipated South Manchester Metrolink line opened this morning, after several opening dates were pushed back because of 'glitches'. The tram runs from St Werburgh's Road in Chorlton through to Victoria passing through various stops such as Piccadilly, new stop Firswood, and Trafford Bar.

Boarding at 9.15am, the platform in Chorlton had just three people waiting as most locals still weren’t aware the line had opened.

Costing £1.80 for a child peak return, it's slightly cheaper than the bus, and the controversial 'IGO pass' is not necessary. A dayrider adult ticket is £3.70 on the Stagecoach bus which does the same journey, but on the tram it's £2.80 off peak return or £3.50 peak return.

The one I boarded was on time and was one of the recently designed trams with its yellow and grey design, and was clean and tidy. The journey was fast taking fifteen minutes to St. Peter's Square compared to the forty minutes the same journey takes on the bus. It would have been quicker had a lengthy stop at a signal light not slowed the journey considerably.

The new line certainly lives up to the expectation and eases a normally uncomfortable journey. I’ll definitely be using it, goodbye slow buses.


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19 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Simon SmithJuly 7th 2011.

What about average journey times for a bike?

Petrol £0. Parking £0. Time from Chorlton to St Peter's Square 20 mins. Cost saving over the tram £560.

I can't understand why anyone except the disabled or elderly would ever use anything but a bike for such a short commute.

6 Responses: Reply To This...
VerbatimJuly 7th 2011.

Just because cycling works for you, it doesn't mean that everyone else will want to.

Transport planning should be about choice, not forcing people to use particular modes.

AnonymousJuly 7th 2011.

I don't want to use a big because I don't have a shower facility in my office and I don't want to feel all sweaty and stinky when I get to work.

That ok?

AnonymousJuly 7th 2011.

bike, not big. Maybe a big bike.

Simon SmithJuly 7th 2011.

If transport planning is about choice why wan't I given the choice of opting out of paying for the tram system?

I cycle to work and don't see why I should help pay the fares of fit and healthy people who choose to use the tram.

Anyway, I was just wondering why the bike wasn't included in the cost and time comparison. Perhaps it's because it would be unfavourable to the tram.

VerbatimJuly 7th 2011.

Simon, I'm all for people riding bikes but lots of people just don't want to. That does't make them lazy.

You actually sound quite pompous and arrogant 'everyone who is able bodied should ride a bike'.

I am sure that everyone knows that you don't pay for bike journeys, if people are willing to pay with their own money to drive or get a tram or a bus, the that is their own choice.

Also, bear in mind that this line is just the first section of a line which will eventually got to Didsbury and Manchester Airport.

As for paying for metrolink to be built, paying for things indirectly that you might not use is a fact of life i'm afraid. Get used to it, some things are for the good of society.

I don't have children yet I pay for schools. I pay for the NHS even though I don't use it every day. All taxes pay for a multitude of services you don't use, but are there for the good of society.

You will also find that many European cities which have a much more enlightened stance toward cycling than we do almost always have a tram system as well.

JohnthebriefJuly 10th 2011.

A wonderful example of the unique moral high ground that cyclists seem to believe they inhabit.

Personally I would ban cycles until they get it into their neanderthal skulls that the law applies to them too, and that just because they are scared of lorries does not make it OK for them to terrorise pedestrians

JayJuly 7th 2011.

Simon, how about safety on the roads, getting wet when it rains, wearing a helmet (messes up my hair), the time it takes, getting sweaty on the way to work, cycling shorts.

Eddy RheadJuly 7th 2011.

...a strong chance of getting your bike nicked if left for more than 3 minutes.......

Calum McGJuly 7th 2011.

I'd use the tram, every time. Sitting in a quiet, comfortable carriage where I could read a paper or use my iPhone. Much prefer that than lashing down rain, traffic fumes and for me, the nutters you see driving every day. Tram wins - but it's personal preference.

CBJuly 7th 2011.

£2.10 in petrol to drive 5 miles?


1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 2nd 2011.

I was going to say that sounds a little ambitious. I drive a fairly large car which does drink diesel a little bit. However, I estimate the cost to be about 75p for a 5 mile trip; and that's overestimating!

Lauren LewisJuly 7th 2011.

I actually dont leave near a tram stop (Salfordite) but I THINK THAT THE NEW TRAM LINE IS A GREAT ADDITION to the city and dont mind paying for it at all. Mostly due to the fact that it saves on time which Im all for! AND unfortunately I cant ride a bike so that isn't a viable alternative for me anyway.

Mark GarnerJuly 10th 2011.

Someone told me this had fallen over?

Dave MartinJuly 11th 2011.

I ride a bike to work and I'll all for it. It will take a few cars off the road for starters, and now I don't have to use the broken, sweaty stagecoach buses to get into town in the evening.

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